4 Tips for Planning a Beautiful In-Home Newborn Session

You’re totally excited about the arrival of your new baby and you cannot wait to capture those first few moments together as a family. You also know that the first few weeks will be a big adjustment and you’ll want to be totally present and able to focus on caring for your newborn, so you want to have all the details planned for your newborn session before your precious baby is born!


Family on the couch at home.

I loved this beautiful session with this new family of three (4 if you count Whiskey, their pup) and it really couldn’t have gone any better! The success of the session had a lot to do with how prepared this mama was, so I thought I’d share some of those tips with you!


1. FIND YOUR LIGHT


The first important thing you’ll want to think about when preparing for your newborn session? Start to be aware of which rooms in your home get the most natural light and notice when the light in each room is the softest.


When I first arrive at your home, I will assess where we’ll be able to create the most dynamic and beautiful images. This depends a lot on what rooms provide the most light and space, where your furniture and windows are located, the time of day, etc. Be prepared - I may do some slight rearranging of furniture to make sure your photos have the best light (like moving a nursery chair closer to a window).


You’ll also want to think about what areas might have the best backdrop for portraits. A solid, neutral colored wall close to the window, for example, provides a great backdrop for a clean portrait of dad and baby.


Portrait of new dad with newborn baby

For most of my sessions, I start with some solo shots of the baby on a bed in your home – usually the bed or a safe, cozy surface that has the best exposure to light. A white or light colored comforter or duvet is always a great option when thinking about where we will do solo portraits of your baby (this helps to avoid any weird color reflections on the baby’s skin).


I loved how this family had a special outfit from grandma they wanted to incorporate. Knitted things with buttons are just the CUTEST! I’m also a rainbow fanatic, so you can imagine how fun it was when I showed up and their baby boy was dressed in this adorable onesie!

lifestyle portrait of a newborn baby

While my style is natural and I don’t bring props to my sessions, I’m so happy to incorporate items that are special for your family - these are your photos after all!


For this family, this was a really special artwork piece of feathered wings that had deep significance related to how God spoke to them and carried them through a difficult season of infertility. The art piece was ultimately a sweet confirmation of the name they chose for their baby! (Malachi 4:2)

artistic portrait of a newborn baby swaddled in a blanket

I’ll also wrap the baby in a swaddle blanket for those solo portraits of your newborn (I will use a few different swaddling techniques depending on the type of swaddle you provide). I loved the dark emerald green swaddle they chose for their little baby boy! The material was super stretchy and perfect for different swaddling techniques.

cute portrait of a newborn baby

This dark green swaddle was great for standing out against the duvet, though I think a white linen (or finely knitted) swaddle is classic and great for all babies as they will highlight baby’s skin and features and expressions.


2. COMFY, BUT MAKE IT FASHION


Another reason why this session was such a success was that this mama was incredibly thoughtful about clothing choices.


I love it when my mamas wear a long dress that’s either a light neutral color, or a bold, rich solid color! Even better if it contrasts (but compliments) her hubby and her baby!


The dress she chose was absolutely perfect and so flattering and I loved how the cut was fitted but flowy and how the material had some beautiful texture. Her husband wore a lighter collared shirt. A classic collared button down looks so classy and clean in photos for dads, but if that’s not your style, a nice white t-shirt or a solid colored, fitted sweater or henley works wonderfully as well (just as long as it’s ironed beforehand!). The combination of the light blue and the deep green with the bold garnet/magenta of her dress made for some stunningly rich and colorful images.



family portrait with newborn baby boy

You can also see how she chose colors that tied in with surrounding elements in the room (the red end table, the green hues in the lampshade and the world map above the headboard). As you can see, it’s such a simple thing to think about beforehand as you plan what to wear, but it makes a huge difference in the overall outcome and feeling of your final gallery!


3. PLAN AHEAD


This mama also gathered important items beforehand that were meaningful to their story (which I love!). In this image below, for example, we got to incorporate a really special crocheted framed art piece. We wrapped the baby up in the coziest little pose, and made use of the gorgeous light streaming in from the window beside the bed.


mother and baby on a bed

It also may seem like a small detail, but I loved that this mama had thoughtfully coordinated her nails with the color of her dress! A manicure took a little pre-planning, but it looks amazing, right?!

portrait of a mother and her newborn baby boy

I really liked working in their bedroom (above) and in the living room (below) because these were the two rooms with the most light and the largest windows on this chilly winter morning in Denver.

mother and her newborn sitting on the couch by the living room window

I also loved working in their nursery (as you see below) which was so thoughtfully outfitted. How cute and #colorado are these crib-sheets!

newborn baby in crib

Loved also documenting this mama and her son in the middle of some super sweet baby-wearing. @wildbird makes some amazing ring-slings that are super snuggly and chic!

newborn baby with mother in nursery room

Gah is there anything better than baby-wearing?


As I captured some of the final moments during this newborn session, this little guy gave me the BEST face - what a natural! One of the perks of being prepared is that your baby will feel even more peaceful during your session. You’ll be at ease and so will they, and that makes for some great images!

mother with baby in a wrap carrier


4. EAT


No but seriously.


Something other photographers may not tell you is to EAT! Make sure you, baby, hubby (and anyone else) is fed before the session, or plan to snack on something while we shoot. This couple chose Banh Mi sandwiches (yum!) and Topo Chico (double yum!) to help them stay energized, and we took a short break midway through the session for baby to get his lunch too!


Finally, you can’t always be prepared for the puppy to steal the show, but who doesn’t love an adorable puppy photo bomb? Whiskey the golden doodle was a ham and a half (always trying to steal the spotlight), and I was here for it!

golden doodle puppy and family on master bed

Do you have a little one on the way? I would LOVE to work with you!